Category Archives: Hawaii

Book online but keep your local support

There are so many options out there for booking that at times, it can feel overwhelming. That is why it’s great to use a travel agent. We can help narrow down what works for your destination, budget and travel needs. Plus, by booking your vacation package through us – you can put down a deposit and then your final payment isn’t due until 60-45 days prior to your departure instead of having to pay it all upfront. Of course, if you’re booking something within 60-45 days of travel, the total is due at the time of booking.

But, if you like doing your own research and booking things online; we have that too. Check out our BOOK IT NOW page on our website. It takes you directly to some of our favorite travel companies’ websites  – like Apple Vacations and Funjet Vacations for example. They have flight/hotel packages to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Jamaica, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe and more. We also have the Globus Family which has escorted tours throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, South Pacific and the Middle East. They also have river cruises. This way, you can check out all the different aspects of your trip but still have our local support to help answer questions or take care of certain details. And, in the event of a problem with your trip, (the best laid plans and all), we’re there to help get things back on track.

If you have questions about any of these companies or their destinations, give us a call. Let us help you find the best deal for your dollar, needs and dreams. Or, book it online and have us as your backup should you need it.



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Filed under All-inclusives, Caribbean, Cruises, Family Travel, Florida, Hawaii, Jamaica, Mexico, Tour Packages, Traveler Tips, USA

Book Online with Us

Without a travel agent, you're on your own.We know there are lots of you that book online and we want you back. We want your business. Our updated website now has a BOOK IT NOW page. If you’re looking for a package deal with air and hotel plus car or a shuttle – I would take a look  at Funjet Vacations or Apple Vacations and get ‘er done. They can get you to almost anywhere here in the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, or Central and South America. Looking for a DisneyWorld vacation to Florida or heading to California to visit DisneyLand? Funjet has you covered – from flights to hotels to shuttles along with theme park tickets. Both Funjet and Apple have charter flights (non-stop flights) to Mexico and islands in the Caribbean. There are so many wonderful places to discover. Book your vacation online on our website and have the local support you need in case you have questions or need help making a booking. Plus, in the event you need help while on the road – you have a familiar name to call on. Keep your peace of mind with our online convenience and local support.

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Filed under Action/Adventure Travel, Activities, All-inclusives, Bahamas, California, Caribbean, Central America, Costa Rica, Disneyland, DisneyWorld, Europe, Family Travel, Florida, Hawaii, Holidays, Honeymoons, Jamaica, Las Vegas, Mexico, New York City

Hawaii – driving around Oahu

To see and really know the Islands of Hawaii takes a minimum of six trips, one for each island. Far too many visitors to the islands make the mistake of trying to see and do every island in a week, bouncing around from island to island in an effort to soak it all in. Want some advice? Explore one island at a time and save the rest for the next visit. To really make the most of your island vacation, be adventuresome and rent a car. We know where to find the best, hassle-free deals. When looking for deals to Hawaii, stay away from holiday weekends or weeks.

Jeeps and convertibles have a certain appeal in Hawaii… you’ll find that out as soon as you get there. Remember, though, that your car is all about getting you to the outer reaches of the islands – once there, step outside and experience the amazing sights, smells, sounds, views and vistas that make the experience that is Hawaii.

Oahu is a great place for exploring. Everyone has their favorite Island….but I like Oahu’s mix of urban and natural beauty, the excitement of Honolulu and the amazing beauty of the interior and the perimeter. One of my first encounters with Oahu, I navigated in a rental car. The scenery is amazing, and on a nice day, which is most days, the drive is exhilarating.

A drive around the perimeter and interior of the island of Oahu is a great way to get to know the geography, the people and the terrain in a really interesting, inexpensive way. The drive is not as famous as Maui’s Road to Hana, but the Oahu route is well worth the time. So grab a map, and plan your drive.

In total, the drive around the eastern and northern perimeter of Oahu, returning through the interior is about 120 miles and takes the better part of five to six hours if you go slow enough to enjoy the scenery and stop along the way. But there is so much to do and see along the way that accomplishing the entire drive in a single outing is hardly necessary. You will want to be drawn in far too many times by the amazing vistas and the quaint towns. We will leave the leeward, or western, side of the island for another trip and instead return through the center of the island. Likewise, the popular sites of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu and Waikiki we will leave to your own explorations!

Start by driving to the 760 foot Diamond Head, one of Oahu’s most amazing and well-known landmark. The mountain towers over everything around it and you can either drive or walk to the top. Stop wherever you feel inclined – you’ll have many excellent opportunities. You will be struck by the scenic beauty of the island, just moments outside of busy Waikiki. If you feel up to an early morning hike to the top of Diamond Head – but remember it’s more than 100 stair steps to the lookout. At the summit, you will be treated to a panoramic view of much of the southern half of the island.

As you leave Diamond Head, you might consider a stop at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. This horseshoe shaped bay is home to many species of tropical fish and offers up some of the best snorkeling areas on the island. There is a small entry fee and during peak seasons the area can fill quickly. Heading up the eastern side of Oahu on Route 83 West, you will pass through all of the small towns that gave rise to great surfing legends. There are dozens of places of interest along the way, including the Byodo-in Temple, a replica of a 900 year old Buddhist temple in Japan. If you are a fan of Japanese architecture and gardens, the stopover is worthwhile. Or spend time at the Polynesian Cultural Center to learn about the history of the islands and the vast sweep of the Polynesian people who populated the most remote islands in the world, arriving in only their small, hand crafted boats.

You might want to take a quick stop at Sunset Beach, the famous surfing beach where the winter surf can deliver the enormous waves that you see in so many pictures of the Islands. Just a quick warning – the ocean here is rugged and rough, not a place for a novice swimmer or a beginning surfer!

Stop at Waimea Beach Park, which is known for its immense winter waves more than 30 feet high, though it is calm enough to easily swim in the summer. The Waimea Valley Audubon Center sits on more than 1,800 acres of pristine land and boasts more than 6,000 species of plant life. There is a 45 foot waterfall within easy distance and the park is, as the name suggests, one of the best areas on Oahu for bird watching. The trails can be a bit rugged in places, so wear good shoes and take water along on the hike.

Leave early enough to plan breakfast (or at least lunch) in the small storybook town of Haleiwa. The old plantation town mixes the historic with new and is a great place for a leisurely break during your ride around the island. The town of Haleiwa has many small boutique shops and a very laid-back feeling.

At the juncture of 83 West and 99 South, you can head into the interior of the island or remain on the perimeter until you come to the end of the paved road at Dillingham Air Field. You can hike for some distance here, though the shoreline is rocky with crystal clear, but rough waters.

At this point, you can backtrack to 99 South and into the interior of Oahu. If you would like to see the famous Dole Plantations, head south on 99. Then, via H2 and H1 West, return to Honolulu and Waikiki. Along the way, you will see so much to do with so many possible detours and stops that your journey may not even resemble the suggestions above. But you are certain to see a side of Oahu that many who never leave Waikiki will never see!

Aloha from Thunderbird Travel – let us help you get there!

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Filed under Action/Adventure Travel, Activities, Family Travel, Hawaii, Honeymoons, Travel News, Travel Trivia, Traveler Tips

Must See Places in Hawaii

Akaka Falls Big Island Hawaii     We all know how far of a trek Hawaii is from the Midwest and often, it’s a once in a lifetime trip – so, please take the time to see at least these places in Hawaii before you leave. For example, the Byodo-In Temple on Oahu which was built to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese to arrive in Hawaii. This non-practicing Buddhist temple has beautiful koi ponds and gardens. Next, you may not want to stay on Waikiki Beach (too crowded for me). But, you must at least visit to see the hustle and bustle and vibrant colors of one of the most famous beaches on the planet. You’ll have to wake up really early to visit the “House of the Rising Sun” – Haleakala Volcano on Maui. Don’t miss an unforgettable sunrise at it’s summit overlooking a sea of clouds. Then, one of my personal favorites, because I love waterfalls, is Akaka Falls on the Big Island with an easy hike but with big payoffs. If you’re interested in what the aftermath of a volcano eruption looks like, take a hike through Desolation Trail on the Big Island. Did you know that Waimea Canyon on Kaui may cover as many square miles as the Grand Canyon and was described by Mark Twain as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”? You definitely cannot leave Hawaii without going to a luau. We’ve been told that the best one is Smith’s Garden Luau on Kaui because of it’s ceremony for unearthing the pork from the underground oven and the history of the islands portrayed by the hula, Tahitian drum and Samoan fire knife dancers. So many places, so little time. You better schedule at least a week or maybe two so you can see all those “must see” places in Hawaii.

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Filed under Action/Adventure Travel, Activities, Family Travel, Hawaii, Travel News, Travel Trivia, Traveler Tips